Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Love is more than meets the eye.
On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?
As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?
Before I start my review, I would like to thank Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings for sharing her ARC of Love and First Sight with me. She said I would love this book, and she was right!
Love and First Sight is the story of Will, a young man who’s been blind since birth. Will is embarking on a new adventure. He wants to prove to himself and everyone else that he can make it in the seeing world. Will had left behind his boarding school for the blind and has enrolled at his local high school.
Will immediately finds himself making friends at his new school. One of those friends is Cecily. As Will gets to know Cecily, he notices people regard her differently. Will doesn’t think much of it. He’s excited to have found someone he can connect with, someone who seems to understand how he “sees” the world. It isn’t until he has an operation that gives him the opportunity to see for the first time in his life that he notices there’s something different about Cecily’s looks. Will feels betrayed that his friends didn’t tell him there was anything different about Cecily. He feels even more betrayed that Cecily didn’t tell him herself. How can Will trust someone who won’t share important things about herself with him?
Love and First Sight was an eye-opening book. That probably sounds corny given the name of the book and the topic of it, but I learned so much while reading this adorable novel. I guess I’ve never really thought about what it would be like to be blind other than the not being able to see part. I never thought about having someone explain what something looks like to me and not being able to imagine it. So many little things that Will dealt with on a daily basis came as a surprise. The entire book was an ah-ha moment for me. In a way, that’s pretty lame, but I guess I’ve never really spent time with a blind person before. How can that be?
I was also shocked by the revelations of what happens when a blind person is all of a sudden able to see. What their brain and body goes through is fascinating. I can’t imagine the frustration Will went through. There are so many visual things I take for granted every day.
I was super impressed with John Sundquist’s writing. It was utterly addictive. I loved how he told Will’s story and every emotion he wove into it. I easily sympathized with Will and his predicaments. He had some tough choices to make, and his strength to take chances impressed me. Will had courage that I’m not sure I would have had. I also loved that his frustrations with his friends had nothing to do with what they kept from him, but that they did it.
One of the coolest things about Love and First Sight were the friendships. Will’s new friends accepted him for who he was. Their hearts were always in the right place, even when they made mistakes. I also adored Will and Cecily’s relationship. They were friends, but they had a deep connection that was always a little more than friendship.
I loved Love and First Sight so much. I honestly didn’t want the book to end. I could have gone on reading about Will, Cecily, and their friends for several hundred pages more. There was so much more to explore about all their relationships. I would love for the author to make a series about this group of friends. They were such amazing characters.
If you’re a fan of YA contemporaries, you must read Love and First Sight. It’s the perfect book to start off your spring or summer.